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Turning garbage into fuel for transit

 

Turning garbage into fuel for transit

John Best

The City of Hamilton and Enbridge Gas have teamed up in an innovative experiment to  power a bus from  natural gas derived from landfill. Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) is now the first public transportation authority in Ontario to use renewable natural gas, (RNG) as it is called, to transport customers. In one year, the HSR RNG bus will use and divert 450 tonnes of organic waste from the landfill. That’s equivalent to 38 garbage trucks, while also displacing CO2 emissions from 36,000 litres of diesel consumed in a year1.

“Net Zero” Process

RNG vehicle fuel is upgraded biogas; the gaseous product of the decomposition of organic waste from homes and businesses that has been processed into green fuel. This green HSR bus operates with carbon-negative RNG—fuel that goes beyond net-zero—provided from the StormFisher facility in London, Ontario, creating a circular economy in the province; achieving climate change targets, diverting waste from landfills, and supporting economic development, all while decreasing CO2 emissions and providing transit customers with comfort and reliability.

“The use of renewable natural gas as a carbon-negative fuel for public transit is a great example of the steps that need to be taken as we move forward into a net-zero carbon future, and supporting economic development and jobs in Ontario,” says Brandon Moffatt, Vice President, Development & Operations, StormFisher Ltd.

RNG buses cost half compared to electric buses and have a similar fuel price as diesel. Diesel buses can be replaced 1-for-1 with RNG without compromising performance. Like diesel, RNG operates during freezing weather conditions and refuelling takes minutes, not hours. This demonstrates that municipalities can have carbon-neutral transit today without sacrificing performance, reliability or range.

“HSR is proud to have led the transit industry as an early adopter of natural gas to fuel a significant portion of our buses. By leveraging RNG, we’re continuing our legacy of being one of the greenest transit fleets in Ontario and Canada,” says Debbie Dalle Vedove, Director of Transit (HSR).

RNG is a growing industry

There are more than 110 operating RNG facilities in North America; with ten of those in Canada. There are over 30 RNG projects in various stages of development or construction in Ontario. In addition to RNG for transport, Enbridge Gas will soon offer a new Voluntary RNG program which gives customers the choice to support the transition to clean energy through a small monthly contribution ($2) to help offset the increased costs of acquiring carbon-neutral renewable natural gas.

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